Recommended for ages 4-8
“Every town has a story…”
A magical newspaper floats through a town ready to celebrate its 150th anniversary, transporting a young boy through the history of the town. We see the evolution of a small American town; from horses and carriages, to buggies, to big-finned cars, to SUVs and minivans. As we move through the decades, we see history unfold: the townsfolk prepare a scrap metal drive for the war effort and a welcome home party for the troops; get a glimpse at the women’s lib movement, a possible recession, and a comeback. It’s a slice of Main Street, USA Americana in a wordless text that lets the illustrations speak volumes.
The art is amazing. We go from a grainy sepia tone, with a grainy feel like an old photo or newspaper clipping, through to a cleaner black and white to highlight the town’s first few decades. During the World War II years, we get a little grittier, like an old photo that’s seen some use. The boy, an outside observer, is always in full color, reminding us that he, like us, is there to observe and learn. As we move from the 1960s into the 1970s, the color goes to a wonderful tinted color, like an old Kodakchrome photo that will make a lot of parents smile and look for their old photo albums. We see some futuristic cars as the town moves into the 1980s, but it also reminds us that there were some hard times, with empty storefronts and the Town Hall holding a benefit breakfast for a repair fund. The architecture evolves with the decades, as do the businesses along Main Street.
We come back to the present, and the newspaper moves on – what will the next child discover?
This is a great book to prompt discussion, whether it’s with grandparents, parents, or an educator, about history and change. It’s a great opportunity to talk to kids about our childhoods, and compare the differences in our formative years. The wordless text allows kids to tell the story and expand beyond the printed page. Who are some of those people? What are those businesses selling? What happened to the businesses that left, and who took their places? What would you do if you went back in time?
My Hometown will be in stores in October, and will definitely find a place on my library shelves.